March 01, 2009

Case in Need: Clemency Counsel for Federal Death Row Prisoner

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 245 Death Row inmates have been granted clemency since 1976 for humanitarian reasons, which include doubts about the defendant's guilt or questions about the fairness of the death penalty process.  Clemency, which varies from state to state, also differs for Federal Death Row prisoners, who may only be pardoned by the President.  As the nation’s Federal Death Row has expanded, the need for volunteer counsel has also increased.  The Project is currently seeking clemency counsel for a prisoner on Federal Death Row in Indiana.  The client was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Texas in 1995.  His petition for post-conviction relief was denied. 

The clemency arguments will draw attention to important mitigating evidence, such as the client’s neuropsychological deficits and his history of growing up in a violent home atmosphere.  Arguments should also emphasize the positive aspects of the client’s character, as well as his excellent conduct in prison. While the client currently does not have an execution date, once a date is set, he will have only 30 days to file his clemency application, so work on the case must begin immediately.  Clemency proceedings may begin as early as spring 2009.  To learn how you can assist, please contact the Project at or (202) 662-1738.